Metabolism: What's the best way to boost it?

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Metabolism: What's the best way to boost it?

Question

I'd like to lose a few pounds. What's the best way to boost my metabolism?

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Answer

Trying to boost your metabolism probably won't lead to weight loss, at least not to the degree that changing your diet and lifestyle habits will. How much you weigh really depends on the number of calories you eat and how much physical activity you get.

Only rarely is excessive weight gain caused by a medical problem that slows metabolism, such as Cushing's syndrome or an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism).

So focus on the factors you have control over. These can help you manage your weight and possibly improve your metabolism.

  • Calories. To lose weight, reduce the number of calories in your diet. And keep in mind that as you age, you may need even fewer calories. This is because the amount of muscle tends to decrease as you get older, leading to an overall increase in fat. Fat tissue burns fewer calories than does muscle.
  • Activity. Get more physical activity and exercise. This is especially important to prevent regaining the weight you lose. Aerobic activity helps you burn calories, and strengthening exercises can help you maintain and build muscle mass.

If you're concerned about your weight or you think your metabolism is too slow, talk with your doctor. Your doctor can check for medical causes and help you adopt healthy lifestyle changes to help your weight loss.

Last Updated: 2010-01-26
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